Which Characters Are Returning For 'Star Wars Episode VIII'?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens did a bang-up job of bringing us back to the galaxy far, far away. It did justice to our favorite classic characters while introducing fresh faces to fall in love with, including Rey and Finn and Poe. So now that Lucasfilm has us invested in this whole new generation of heroes and villains, what's next? Who's coming back in Episode VIII? (Spoilers for The Force Awakens ahead.) 

Speaking to Bang Showbiz (via the Evening Standard) at Star Wars: The Force Awakens' London premiere, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that pretty much everyone would be back for the next installment of the series. "There will be a handful of new cast members in Episode VIII but also all the cast members you see here tonight will be in it as well," she said.

Cast members in attendance included Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong'o, Max von Sydow, and Adam Driver, so make of that what you will. It's worth keeping in mind that this exchange took place a day or so before the film actually hit theaters, so it's not as if Kennedy were about to start spilling spoilers right there on the red carpet.

Of course, if you've actually seen The Force Awakens, you know there's reason to wonder if Ford will really return, seeing as Han Solo dies in the third act. But there's precedent for dead characters returning, and it's also possible he could resurface in flashbacks. (There's clearly more to the Ben Solo story than we've seen so far, for example.) So it's unclear whether Kennedy is including Ford in her statement, or if she was just speaking in vague terms to avoid giving away a big twist.

Kennedy has specifically confirmed Captain Phasma (Christie) and Finn (Boyega) will be back for Episode VIII, and we've previously heard reports that Ridley and Hamill have already started Episode VIII shooting on Skellig Michael. Isaac has more or less confirmed his return as well. In addition, Benicio del Toro is joining the cast as a possibly villainous character. And word is we'll be seeing a new female character or two.

In any case, Kennedy's already looking forward to Episode VIII, as are we. "We're excited to get back together," she said. "We start shooting Episode VIII in January, we've been prepping the movie for the last year and Rian Johnson has been doing an amazing job."

Star Wars: Episode VIII arrives in theaters May 26, 2017.